fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Aisha Rose Migiro <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 02:46:09 +0800 (CST)
Subject: UNITED NATION
UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION UNIT, IN AFFILIATION WITH WORLD BANK.
This is to official inform you that we have been having a meeting for the past Six (6) month which ended three days ago with (IMF) International Monetary Fund President Hon. Mrs. Christine Lagarde in the meeting we discussed on issue concerning Scam victim and Compensation procedure which we have concluded.
Therefore I am writing to notify you that United Nation have agreed to compensate you with the sum of Nine Hundred and Eighty Thousand United States Dollars (USD$980,000.00) this also including international business that failed due to Government problems etc. We have arranged your payment of USD$980,000.00 through MasterCard ATM which is the latest instruction from the World Bank President Dr. Robert Bruce Zoellick.
For the collection of your MasterCard ATM contact Barrister. David Fisher and forward the following details to him.
1. Full Name:.........
3. Delivery Address:..........
5. Your Age....../Sex..........
6: Your Nearest Airport.........
Contact Barrister. David Fisher with below email and phone number and forward all your details to him.
Email : (email@example.com)
Telephone +229 98422239
Note: for the immediate collection of your MasterCard ATM is your obligation to pay the delivery fee to enable you confirm your payment without further delay and note any other communication you made out side Barrister. David Fisher office is at of your own risk.
Deputy Secretary-General (UN)
CC: Hon. Mrs. Christine Lagarde
CC: Mr. Ban Ki-mo